Friday, November 18, 2011

Ohio Prosecution, Defense Lay Out Cases In HIV Sex Trial

Testimony in the trial of a man accused of having sex without telling partners he was HIV-positive began Tuesday.
A woman who lived with Andre Davis and had two children with him was the first prosecution witness called to testify, followed by a lab worker from Quest Diagnostics.

Both sides laid out their planned cases before the jury on Monday.
Assistant prosecutor Amy Tranter told jurors that Davis tested positive for HIV in July 2009 and signed paperwork that said he understood his duties of under Ohio law as an HIV-positive person.
Prosecution, Defense Lay Out Cases In HIV Sex Trial
But Tranter said Davis continued to have sex with at least a dozen women without telling any of them that he had contracted the virus that is believed to cause AIDS.
"Time and time again, nondisclosure after nondisclosure ... so much so that you'll need a flow chart to keep track of it," she said, before showing jurors a list of the victims named in the indictment and when they are believed to have had sex with Davis.
Tranter said that not disclosing the positive test result is the crime, irrelevant of motive or intent.
But defense attorneys said that the women failed to take adequate precautions against the virus or other sexually transmitted disease.
"Described in the simplest, rawest terms, this case is about sex," said defense attorney Gregory Cohen. "It's about multiple sexual partners, sometimes with some of these women, multiple at the same time.
Cohen told jurors that they must listen closely to see if the state proves that his client has a virus, which he doesn't believe the state can prove, and that he has a virus that will lead to AIDS.
A new lawyer for Davis, Baron Coleman, claimed on Monday night that the defendant may not even be infected.
According to Coleman's website, he had forced charges to be dropped in similar cases where clients are said to have HIV. Now, he and Cohen said they are poised to challenge everything from Davis' positive test result to the victim's sexual decisions.
"You're not going to hear a single person say, 'I identified Andre Davis when he came in to take the test. I made sure the blood was properly labeled and sent to the right lab.' I'm arguing the state is not prepared to demonstrate he's HIV positive," Coleman said.
But Planned Parenthood said that AIDS testing is very accurate.
"The type of testing we do is rapid test. When that test is positive, it is 99.6 percent accurate, at which time we take another sample and do two more tests to make sure it is HIV causing the result and not something else," said Todd Rademaker, a Planned Parenthood laboratory technician and educator.
Davis is facing 15 counts of felonious assault against 12 women.
After his arrest was made public in April, more women came forward to say they had sex with Davis and were not told of his illness.
Davis also faces similar charges in Warren County.
If convicted on all 15 assault charges, court officials said that Davis is facing 96 years behind bars.

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